How to support a person with dementia during fireworks night

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How to support a person with dementia during fireworks night.

For a person with dementia, loud noises can confuse, scare or trigger unwanted past memories.

With an estimated 39,080 people living with dementia in the North East it can be a challenging time for many.

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Danielle Cooper, Head of Service in the region for Alzheimer’s Society suggests some tips for enjoying bonfire night and other festivities, while keeping safe and supporting everyone to enjoy themselves.

Plan ahead

Ahead of fireworks night, let the person with dementia know it’s coming up. You may be able to gauge how they feel about the festivities and whether or how much they’d like to be involved.

Speak to neighbours about their plans too. If they’re setting off fireworks nearby, this may be stressful for someone with dementia. The person may prefer to go somewhere else for a while.

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Police are reminding people of when it is within the law to set off fireworks.Police are reminding people of when it is within the law to set off fireworks.
Police are reminding people of when it is within the law to set off fireworks.

Attend a professional event

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If you do plan on going to a local display, be sure it’s professionally run. Some events may include a low noise firework display. Official events also adhere to strict fire and safety regulations to keep everyone safe on the night.

Stay comfortable

To help the person with dementia feel more comfortable, check that there aren’t too many people, too much activity, loud noises, sudden movements or an uncomfortable environment.

The person you’re caring for may feel the cold far more than you do but may not realise it, or may be unable to tell you. Encourage wearing layers of clothing and drinking hot beverages to stay warm. Some people may decide to wear ear defenders or ear plugs.

Create an alternative fireworks night

There are lots of ways a person with dementia can enjoy fireworks if they do not wish to go to an event.

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You may want to use sparklers if you have outside space at home or you could watch the displays from a distance or inside the house. You could also watch displays on television or online.

Avoid fireworks altogether

If the person is distressed by the noise or bright flashes, think about alternative activities you can enjoy together such as films, audiobooks or music. Providing reassurance by talking calmly and providing touch or hugging if the person is distressed.

Danielle said: “Being inclusive of people living with dementia and keeping them safe around or from fireworks is incredibly important. Keeping involved in festivities can help maintain their quality of life.”

If you’re affected by dementia, Alzheimer’s Society is here for you. Call their support line on 0333 150 3456 or visit for help and advice.

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